More about Hermitage Bay
Hermitage Bay is Wonderful
My husband and I visited Hermitage Bay from May 25-June 2, 2007 for our 25th anniversary. Quite simply said, it was heaven.
We had a hillside cottage with a private plunge pool. The pool is the ticket! We stayed in our plunge pool a lot. It is a beautiful view, and so nice to relax in with a cold beer or a rum and coke. And....although the walk up to our cottage was strenuous, I actually enjoyed the exercise after eating all of the wonderful meals. The cabins are simple yet elegant. We loved the Ipod dock; and the mini bar. We wished for more ice at times....the staff stocked the mini bar and ice bucket in the morning, yet by happy hour (5:00 pm-ish)...the ice was mostly melted. But....all we had to do was ask for more ice. (Sometimes the delivery was a bit slow.) The mini bar should have been a bit larger...we spent a fair amount of time in our cottage; and wanted more juice, cold water, etc. Hint: If you prefer a certain type of alcohol (ie: scotch)....just be sure to ask specifically for it in the beginning and they will stock more of it than the other brands. We napped everyday on the veranda. It was so relaxing and wonderful. We also read several books and we were both able to truly relax to a new level. We also watched the sunset every night before going down for dinner.
The food was fabulous. There were several courses for each meal; and the menu for dinner changed daily. We enjoyed the fresh fruit juices in the mornings. We enjoyed eating lunch in the bar area. We ate dinner in the restaurant, which was so nice...but at times a bit hot. Their are ceiling fans, but the restaurant does not get enough of a breeze. This is one of the only complaints that we had, and hopefully management will do something about it. The "starters" (we call them appetizers here in Texas!) were always wonderful! And the seafood was always fresh and delicious. The soups were yummy also!
Our biggest decision of the day was whether we would go to the beach or the pool. We usually hung out at the beach until lunchtime, and then relaxed by the pool (or in our own plunge pool) in the afternoon. The beach personnel were wonderful! We sailed in our own hoby-cat a few times and loved watching the porpoises swim along beside us! We also snorkeled on the small coral reef right in front of the hotel. A sea turtle laid eggs right on our beach, and the staff was sweet enough to cordon off the area with caution tape to keep the eggs safe. It was a treat to see.
We did not have a huge problem with bugs. There were a few, but we just sprayed with Off and went on with our day. I did not have any bug bites when we left. (Of course, maybe I am just used to the bugs since I am from Texas.)
We went on the eco tour one day ( a large 50+ foot yacht) and thoroughly enjoyed the outing! Yet...we were content to just stay at the resort for the rest of the time. It is something that we will remember always.
BEST IN THE CARIBBEAN
Hermitage Bay is by far the best resort in the Caribbean. My sister and I visited with my parents for their 50th wedding anniversary and all we can say is WOW! Firstly, the service is impeccable. Nothing is overlooked and the staff and management team goes above and beyond to make your stay exquisite. In all my travels to the Caribbean, I have never experienced so much attention from the staff.
FOOD: The food and drinks were fantastic. We are from Boston and have high expectations when dining - the chef was by far on par with any of our high end restaurants in Boston. Breakfast, lunch and dinner were all excellent.
ROOM: Absolutely gorgeous and of very high standard. We stayed in an oceanfront beach suite and an oceanview suite. The decor is simple yet elegant and evokes a very serene tone. The mini-bar was stocked daily or as needed and our room ambassador, Jerrylynn, ensured that the room was always impeccable.
BEACH: The bay is extremely private with plenty of umbrellas and beach chairs. Each day your "space" is arranged by the beach staff and you are able to take advantage of beach service throughout the day - drinks, water, whatever! Again, the staff is at your beckon call!
BOUTIQUE: For those women who like to shop, the boutique was stocked with beautiful high end clothing and accessories. Our friend, Keysha, was an excellent sales person who went out of her way to ensure that we had the opportunity to linger for hours to enjoy and then purchase a myriad of one of a kind pieces!
All in all, a very special resort, particularly for couples. Since the resort only opened in November, we were able to secure special rates, which I did not know at the time. Rates for 2008 are very high but for those who can afford it, you will not be disappointed, Hermitage Bay is a very special destination.
We Stayed at Hermitage bay (5th - 12th Jul) for our honeymoon.
It was exactly what we wanted - quite location, exclusive, no beach sellers, no other hotels in sight or huge complexes nearby, its fully inclusive (drinks, food) and top notch service, this is what we got.
A young lady from the resort met us at the airport and looked after us, until our chauffeur arrived in a four by four which took us to our destination. Yes there is bumpy road to hermitage bay, but I have been on worse. (Cool ride)
The complex itself comprises of the main restaurant, reception, bar seating area and swimming pool. (I must say that the surrounding seating available was extremely comfortable) .
The beach apt’s are quite close by, which in turn lead up to the hillside apt’s, which are far bigger and have the all important plunge pool.
Please note that access to the hillside apt's is up winding paths and steps, which initially we treated as a bit of exercise, but towards the end of the holiday became a bit of a chore (especially during the high heat of the day), but you can always whistle up one of the many club golf carts whizzing around to take you up to your apt, the staff are falling over themselves to help guests in anyway possible. (JUST ASK)
Bar service is excellent, in many cases the barman will come out to you to ask what you would like to drink, I recommend the Hermitage Bay Frutti's
All of the below is Nature related and not really in the control of hermitage bay.
The only personal niggles what I would mention, is that you will get mozzie bites. Take plenty of repellent and sprays, do also be aware that there are noisy crickets at night. We didn’t have any sleepless nights because of it, but I thought they were quite loud.
The final niggley bit which I found unfortunate, is that there are Jellyfish in sea very close to the beach, I’m not sure if there’s a season for Jellyfish or not, but I wanted to do a lot of snorkelling, and had to constantly keep an eye out for them.
The water sports are top notch as well, Devon is the main dude on the beach who can take you (couples) out sailing on a small catamaran, or a spin out in their small speedboat (highly recommended). Kayaking, wind surfing is also available, along with the borrowing of fins and snorkelling gear (Devon is really helpful and knowledgeable about the surrounding area)
There is no need to bring beach towels, each time you plump for a beach deck chair, you are offered 2 fresh towels and cushions, and of course free drinks on requests, I do recommend the soft cocktail drinks during the day, anything you want (JUST ASK)
Trips are of course extra, and are organised completely hassle free by reception. There’s plenty to choose from, eco tours by boat, scuba diving (I recommend Indigo divers) etc..etc..even if you want to go jet skiing, Devon will take you round to the next bay where there is motorised water sports.
The apartments have air con and ceiling fans which are a nice feature and keep the temperature comfortable.
There is an lcd flat screen with American sky, we did watch a few films on the late lazy afternoons
This place is designed, so that you can relax and be extremely comfy,
And 'YES' if I had the money would jump at the chance of going back next year. I was well impressed with all the staff; anything that was asked of them was achieved.
Now I must mention the best bit, THE FOOD!!, you cannot get better...
Its five star luxury eating, morning, noon and night. The food was exceptionally good and amazingly well presented, the staff serving were very courteous, You wont go hungry. I would recommend Hermitage bay it to anyone wanting a relaxing holiday.
My wife and I could not decide what to do for our honeymoon. We debated a safari then the Seychelles, Sonoma and napa then Hawaii. and then we realized we didn't want to spend our time flying and all we wanted to do was relax. we didn't want to do anything because our days are filled with nothing but stress and hecticness. We found Hermitage Bay!
We watched it's progress on Trip Advisor for about three months before we arrived and we could not have been more excited. We could not have been more please with our experience. Starting with our airport transfer to the hotel. Kemba drove us and helped us get acquainted with local customs. He warned us about "the road". I have to tell you it is fine. you shouldn't leave the resort anyway.
We were given two virgin Mojitos upon arrival and were told where things were and then we were taken to our villa. We got the complimentary upgrade to a hillside villa because it was our honeymoon. If you are debating whether or not it is worth it to spend the extra money for the hillside villa the answer is a definite yes. The plunge pool makes the experience perfect. (except maybe the 117 steps to get to our villa) . The ipod dock is so nice and the fact that it is connected through out the villa is wonderful. Our biggest disappointment was that we didn't really get a room ambassador. everyone talked about theirs but we fell through the cracks.
The food is very good. The breakfast and lunch menus stay the same everyday but there is enough to pick and choose that you can stay for a week and not get bored with the selections. Dinner is very good too the menu changes nightly. The biggest issue in the dining room is temperature. It is hot and there is no cooling. Management needs to address this, especially as July and August approach. The bar was great good drinks, good house wines, and good house champagne.
The only "construction" that is happening right now is landscaping they are really trying to get everything planted and in place and they are doing a wonderful job.
We set up a private sunset cruise through Judith at the front desk. She set us up with Shaun and we had a great time for two hours on a sail boat on the open water. It was a highlight for sure.
We succeeded to relax for sure. Our day came down to one choice; plunge pool or beach, if life was only as simple as that one choice.
First the service is the best you could expect for on the island. When I contacted them about the resort, I received prompt replies via e-mail and booking was a breeze.
The resort is beautiful. We were in a Hillside with the pool, which is great. I could not get my new bride away from it, which I must say I felt the same way. I had really planed to do a lot of excursions and visit all I could on the island, but with this resort you really don’t want to leave, so for the most part, we didn’t.
The staff is very friendly and tries to accommodate all your needs, although some times on “island time” but “no worries”, they were great.
Hints for couples going, ask for and you should receive, I should have requested a cooler of beer and drinks to take up to our pool, but instead went back and forth to the bar for a couple at a time, as the stocked bar will only hold a limited amount of “cold” ones.
Also we didn’t find out until too late that the water sports included being taken to a secluded beach for awhile and picked up later by power boat.
All in all this place will shoot to the best of the best.
Still a few problems....
We have just returned (June 25th) from a week's stay at Hermitage. Although there is much to love about this resort there are still some problems that need to be sorted out - not that these should necessarily deter you from booking.
If you book a Hillside Suite you need to be prepared to walk/climb back and forth to your suite since the buggies used to carry guests are not always availalbe and seem to have trouble getting beyond the second level. We stayed at the third level and if you have problems walking and so on it can be a challenge - particularly since it is very hot and humid at this time of year. The plunge pool is the reward for making it up the hill!!
The resort has just opened officially (June 26th) but there is still a lot of work to be done in the gardens and landscaping in general. There was some machinary noise (we had two days of plant machinary to contend with) and there is likely to be more since they intend to build a further 5 suites to the 27 they already have.
The iPod station is an interesting extra but it can be very irritating to listen to your neighbours choice of music or their TV as the speakers are efficient - and neighbours not always considerate of others.
There is a mosquito problem at the resort and although it is clear that they are dealing with it we did suffer from an alarming number of bites.
This isn't meant to be a negative report since we enjoyed our time there very much, but you might want/need to take these points into account.
The staff are very friendly and helpful and the food good. Diner improved day by day, so much so that we wondered if a new chef had been employed. Our final evening meal there was of a different standard altogether but this may have been due to the fact that there was a celebrity wedding being catered for.
As a previous reveiwer commented the dining room is hot and humid but being open on several sides it is difficult to see what can be done.
If you love hummingbirds you will be enchanted - they are many and beautiful and I think that when the gardens are finished they will provide a beautiful backdrop to the many varities of bird life.
All in all we had a good visit and were not tempted at all to explore the island - which is unusual for us and says a lot!
Striving for Utopia
As we sat on our balcony at the Hermitage discussing the review we would write, I reminded my husband that the definition of a utopia is “no place” meaning it can’t exist and “good place.” Wikipedia states that the definition implies “that the perfectly 'good place' is really 'no place.'" Well, our experience at this resort is as close to that as possible. Keep in mind as you read some of our minor complaints that we originally had reservations for four nights, left the Hermitage to travel to the other side of the island to a very nice resort and after staying there for one night, gave up our prepaid nights and returned for two more at the Hermitage.
First, about the mosquitoes. I had read every tripadvisor review and was prepared with various levels of Deet (up to 98%, enough to kill fish in the sea, probably) and non-Deet formulas because I have very adverse reactions to bites and was very concerned. I was not bitten once and never had to use anything higher than the 25%. My husband, on the other hand, who is rarely bitten, fell asleep reading on the balcony without any spray and was bitten over fifty times anywhere he did not have hair protecting him. We met a couple from Ireland who had brought a mosquito net for sleeping, bathed in spray at all times, and still managed to be bitten. So my guess is that anyway you look at it, it’s a gamble. By the way, this same couple were on their honeymoon and the groom had lost his wedding band in the ocean while snorkeling. The next morning he and one of the staff members went looking for it and found it! What luck!
Upon arriving we were very warmly greeted by Judith and check-in was smooth and stress free. We met our room ambassador, Hyacinth, and up the hill in the golf cart we went (to the second highest cottage, had I realized this I would have rid myself of my drink which splashed all over the place as we traversed the hillside). We never did use the golf cart again because it gave us a good workout after eating three solid meals a day, but if you are not into exertion, take the cart or ask for a lower room (our calves enjoyed the massage on the third day of our stay!). We were shown all of our amenities and then left to explore on our own. A lovely mixture of chilled fruit awaited us and we devoured it immediately, though the plate kept us company for the several days (we thought this was odd because the room would be spotlessly cleaned, the bar restocked and yet this dirty, empty plate along with our glasses from check-in were never taken away, odd). The GM called to tell us that our television was not working (he had just been informed) but as we did not travel all the way to Antigua to watch TV, who cared? I forgot my contact cleaning solution, and with no rental car, this ended up being an expensive error as the sundry shop did not carry any. Judith arranged for a reliable cab driver to pick some up from a local pharmacy, but by the time I was done paying and tipping everyone involved, it cost a small fortune. If you are not renting a car, double check your packing list! As we left for dinner, we noticed that our plunge pool seemed to be overflowing down the landscaping in an unnatural way, so we told Judith. The pool continued to be a problem for three of the four nights, (even destroying some of the lower landscaping) but luckily it was fine during the day. The hummingbirds and other wildlife in the trees overlooking the plunge pool were very entertaining and beautiful.
Our first dinner left us wondering a little because though the food was marvelous, we were never given any refills on drinks and when I caught the eye of a waiter other than our own and asked about a desert menu he said there was one and twenty-five minutes later, with empty glasses and no desert menu, we left feeling uncertain that we had made the right decision to stay here. We never did have a breakfast where some aspect of it was not marred by a forgotten request for something like ketchup, or something left off that we ordered, but we learned to laugh this off. All of our meals henceforth seemed to prove that the first was a complete fluke because the service thereafter was attentive, friendly, and the food always delicious. I am a picky eater, and yet there was always a choice on the menu that I could pick and did enjoy. Breakfast choices included daily fresh juices, fruits, eggs, salmon, potatoes, baskets of breads, pancakes, prunes, etc. Lunches consisted of chicken wraps, wonderfully seasoned hamburgers, jerk beef, tasty Caesar salad, etc. Dinner always had a seafood entrée, chicken or beef, soup, and exotic starters. The deserts were out of this world! There are tiers in the dining room and while some reviews have complained about the heat, if you sit on the top tier near the back, there are several fans and they catch a good cross breeze, while still affording a marvelous view.
The ambiance of the resort is wonderful and if you are looking for a quiet place to read, tan, (or hang out under the umbrella in the shade while Glenford arranges four towels for you on your lounge and a drink is brought to you) etc., this is the place for you. The beach was very clean, the water very comfortable, and the service while on the beach attentive. This is not a wild, party atmosphere; though we did stay up late talking to new acquaintances at the bar until very late in the morning while Carlton served us too many drinks even though he needed to be leaving for his other job in St. Johns.
As I mentioned, we left for our other arrangements, but upon arriving, realized that even though the Hermitage had some kinks to work out, nothing else was going to top the setting, the staff, the lack of stress concerning meal choices, and the room accommodations. We called and made arrangements to return. We were greeted very warmly upon returning by Michael, who was surprised to see us back on the list of returning guests and asked us why we ever left in the first place. When we travel, we always stay at at least two differently styled places to get a different feel for the island, but we now know there is only one place to stay in Antigua, even though it is pricey. We tried a beach front room for the last two nights (#10 right next to the pool) and it was equally nice. Though it lacked the plunge pool, immediate access to the bar, pool, beach, and restaurant more than made up for that missing amenity. We will have to debate heartily which accommodations to choose when we return. And that truly is the key to the end of this review. For all of the little kinks and the high price, the Hermitage is the first resort that we have ever decided we would want to come back to; there are so many places to visit in one lifetime, but we were never so relaxed and so spoiled in our lives.
We stayed from Jun 22-26, 2007, had a perfect mini-honeymoon. Booked through a Luxury link auction for a great price.
OVERALL: Absolutely perfect.
Good: Rooms, Decor, Service, FOOD!
Bad: Nothing. A few mosquitos (one mention and we were provided with a can of off--problem solved) and occasional shortage of towels (again, one mention and problem solved)
Resort: Small and private, with open air buildings. Excellently integrated into landscape. Well-maintained.
Rooms: We stayed in a Beach Cottage. Excellent for beach goers who don't need a plunge pool. Cottages are open spaces, beautifully decorated and w/ A/C. Ipod docks (great feature!), Satelline TV/DVD (didn't get to use it!) Beautiful fixtures. Tub for 2, individual sinks and space for 2. Outdoor raindrop shower. Minibar--always stocked. Outdoor deck with bed. No detail missed.
Pool/verandah/bar: infinity pool. Comfortable seats with views of the beach and the sunset. Bar is well stocked with local and international drinks, alcoholic and non-alcoholic. Fruit in the morning, appetizers in the evening.
Beach: Because of the plunge pools on the hillside cottages, beach was like your own private beach with max 10 people. Good service beachside as well, with fruit and drinks. Swim cautiously as jellyfish were a-plenty. (If this is a problem for you, perhaps hillside is better).
Dining: WORLD CLASS. Chef Dezi has the most diverse and inventive menu, with international classics and local specialties. Portions are good. Was never left hungry or unsatified.
People/Service: Informal and excellent. Everyone was friendly, always
asking if there was anything you need. None of that "not my job" attitude.
Watersports: Sailing, snorkeling, and kayaking. All included. Devon and Janice are excellent guides and company.
Spa: Complemetary massages were great. We even tried facial and pedicure, which were excellent.
Price: A great deal when you consider what is included. (All the above). Tipping is not encouraged. The only thing added on was extra spa services and a dinner on the beach that we requested for our honeymoon.
Overall: GO before it gets too expensive because it will when people find out about it.
We have just returned from a week in a beach front cottage at the Hermitage Inn, Antigua. I must say that this is one of my all time favorite places. From the minute you arrive the atmosphere is one of luxury and relaxation. Any requests we had were met with quickly and with a smile. The staff is very warm and friendly. The rooms are amazing, the food is terrific (and we are very spoiled NYers) and the grounds are beautiful. We were quite pleased with our overall vacation and would certainly reccommend it to anyone looking for a low key, up scale vacation. My best suggestion is to pack an Ipod full of great music! and enjoy!
Best Hotel in Antigua
I lived in Antigua for over two years and have visited almost every hotel on the island, and this is by far the best. The hotel manager took a few of us on a tour around the facility and I was blown away. They did a very nice job (unlike some hotels) of blending in to the environment. The beach itself is one the top five on the island.
If you are going, be sure to watch Buell's "strings that sing" show on Wednesday night. He is a local singer/songwriter that is in high demand on the island.
St. John's suburbs from the air
Ice Cream store on right
More harbor areaa
Church with rotten spire